And now for something completely different ... Hot Chocolate! And the big surprise is that its not spiked with anything other than a pinch of cayenne pepper. Honest!
A few weeks ago, the good folks at Taza Stone Ground Organic Chocolate reached out to me and offered a sample of their product. After taking a spin around their very cool site, I was more than intrigued. They are committed to producing a line of high quality, organic, chocolates in a socially responsible way. Yay, Taza!
Located in Somerville, Massachusetts, Taza was founded in 2006 and specializes in small batch "bean-to-bar" chocolate products made in the "traditional Mesoamercian" way. Meaning, the chocolate is minimally processed and ground by stone rather than steel. Taza works with small chocolate and sugar co-operatives around the globe to ensure fair wages and socially responsible practices and their operation is as green as green can be. Just take a look at this page from their website ... from recycled packaging to "human powered local delivery", they've really got it down. Color me impressed.
They sent me a disc of their Salted Almond Chocolate Mexicano and I put it to good use. Last night I whipped up a mug of hot chocolate using the disc and it was spectacular! Smooth, creamy, rich and delicious - this is not your average cup of cocoa. Its something more ... much, much more.
Spiced Hot Chocolate:
- 8 ounces of non-fat milk
- one 1.3 ounce disc of Taza Salted Almond Chocolate Mexicano
- dash of cinnamon
- dash of freshly grated nutmeg
- small pinch of cayenne pepper
Using a box grater, grate one whole disc of Taza Chocolate Mexicano and reserve.
Heat the milk in a small sauce pan until hot and foamy, but not yet boiled. You want the milk to be hot, but not scaled. To the milk, add a dash of cinnamon, a dash of nutmeg and a small pinch of cayenne pepper, if desired, stir to combine and remove the pan from the heat. Add the grated chocolate and whisk vigorously using a wire whisk or molinillo for one to two minutes, until all the chocolate has melted and the mixture is creamy and frothed. Pour into a mug and serve immediately, garnished with a grating of fresh nutmeg.
As written, this recipe will serve 1.
How good is this hot chocolate? So good I burned my tongue because I couldn't stay away from it and let it cool. So good I immediately went online and ordered more Taza Chocolate Mexicano. Really. Now let's be clear, although they sent me this product in hopes that I'd write about it, I would not recommend it here if I wouldn't buy it myself. And buy it, I did ... a lovely little sampler pack. I can't wait to try the other flavors.
I do realized that today is Thursday and some of you might, indeed, be thirsty ... so if you're of a mind, go right ahead and add a shot of booze to this already decadent hot cocoa. I'd recommend bourbon. With or without the shot, I urge you to try it. Taza Chocolate Mexicano is a high quality product that is so rich and velvety you'll become addicted with just a single sip. You've been warned.
At $4.50 per package, the Chocolate Mexicano may seem a bit pricey - though there are two discs per package which works out to $2.25 per cup of cocoa. I figure it this way, you'd pay at least as much in a coffee bar and, in this case, you're paying for a responsibly sourced product, produced in an environmentally sound facility. I think its worth it. I think I'm worth it ... and so are you!